We’ve been using WordPress as a content management system (CMS) for a couple of years now. It is a great tool for us as well as for our customers and offers a way for them to save money. Instead of calling us every time they need to make a change to their site, we give them access to their website and take control without knowing HTML.
But, I have to admit. It has a small drawback for our users; the frequent updates. Granted, many are due to security holes that are getting fixed, so it is VERY important that each of us upgrade their WordPress website to the latest version. But it can be a pain when you feel like you just updated and then BAM! another fix. But it’s for your best interest.
Here is a story from USA Today on how hackers are targeting small business websites: http://www.usatoday.com/tech/news/2011-07-04-small-business-cyber-attackss_n.htm.
Just know that any time a security flaw is found the WordPress team will update the flaws within hours.
You can upgrade manually, which is best, or automatically. Here is more information on how to do that: http://codex.wordpress.org/Updating_WordPress.
First Step: Backup Your Files and Database!
In case something goes wrong, you can always put your files back the way they were. Most often the smaller, incremental updates update smaller files to fix security holes. The larger updates may upgrade the databases and core WordPress files, so changes to your WordPress theme and programming may be affected. So, always BACK UP!
These are some plugins you might consider to backup your WordPress website.
- Backup Buddy – this is a great plugin that we use for our hosting client’s websites. It has an easy backup tool, backup scheduling, and move tool in case you want to move your site to a different host. We use it when we go from our test servers to the live server.
- WordPress Backup to Dropbox – If you have a dropbox account, you send your backups to it so you’ll have a backup ‘offsite’ and always available in case something happens with your web host.
- WP-DB-Backup – This plugin will only update your database, not your files so you’ll need a FTP program to backup your files. But this is great for those who do not want to access their databases or understand how to do so.
Just a little plug: If you host with GlobalSpex Web and Graphic Design, we will do the backups and updating for you.
Turn Off Your Plugins
Take A Snapshot
What I have found helpful, as well, in case your widgets go haywire, is to take a snapshot of what you have in your sidebar and your website’s layout. This way if your widgets are removed (like one of my client’s were) you can put back the widgets back in the right order. You’ll also notice in the Widgets section, that there are ‘inactive’ widgets that were once used which you can pull back over to the sidebar area again.